Two Maryland farmers participated in the American Soybean Association’s Soybean Leadership Academy earlier this month. Belinda Burrier of Union Bridge, and Evan Staley of New Windsor, both representatives of the Maryland Soybean Board, joined over 160 other participants from across the country in completing the training.

Photo: United Soybean Board

“This annual program continually brings value to those who attend,” said Burrier, current MSB Chair. “Although the virtual format was different this year, there were engaging speakers who made it easy to learn from the comfort of the farm.”

The Soybean Leadership Academy is designed to provide tools and techniques that enable state and national soybean board leaders to be more effective, efficient, and inspired leaders. Throughout the program, participants had the opportunity to engage with each other and speakers, both on camera and through chat, and in some states, in person.

This year’s event offered two different tracks for attendees, an Executive track for top state and national farmer leaders which Burrier participated in, and a Beginning/Intermediate track for new farmer leaders which Staley participated in. Featured speakers included Neen James, author of Attention Pays; Vance Crowe, communications consultant; Dr. Matt Roberts, economist; Dan Farney, chairman, USB; Darryl Chatman, senior vice president, governance and compliance, USB; and Christy Seyfert, ASA executive director of government affairs.

“With this being my second year on the Maryland Soybean Board, the program helped me to get a better understanding of the workings of the checkoff organization,” Staley commented. “I would recommend the training to anyone who is interested in becoming involved with the soybean industry.”

In Maryland, farmers grow about a half a million acres of soybeans, producing more than 20 million bushels of beans each year. With a value of $173 million to the state’s economy, soybeans are one of Maryland’s top crops. The checkoff program is funded by farmers through an assessment of one-half of one percent of the net market value of their soybeans at the first point of sale. One-half of the checkoff funds stay in Maryland for programs; the other half is sent to the United Soybean Board.

For more information on the Maryland Soybean Board, visit

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Danielle Farace, Executive Director
Maryland Soybean Board
Office: 443.812.4526